What better way to ring in Halloween — the most fright-filled night of the year — than with a good ol’ horror story? An “American Horror Story,” that is. FX’s mega-hit horror-themed television series is back with a bang. The wonderful, monstrous creation by Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk launched its second season, titled “American Horror Story: Asylum,” on Oct. 17, 2012 with a staggering 3.85 million viewers who tuned in.
If you are one of the many viewers who watched last season’s “Murder House” with wide eyes, then you are no doubt enjoying this season’s already deliciously twisted, erotic and mesmerizing start. Set in 1964 in Boston, “Asylum” takes viewers into the world of a mental institution run by a Catholic church. Two-time Academy Award winner Jessica Lange plays the delectably cruel Sister Jude, who runs the asylum, covering up a dark past with a steel heart and words that will cut through you, right to your core. Speaking of cutting, James Cromwell’s (“Six Feet Under,” “The Green Mile”) Dr. Arthur Arden spooks the audience with his conniving language and cringe-worthy medical experiments on the “inmates.” Other main storylines include that of accused murderer Kit Walker (Evan Peters), the courageous yet helplessly trapped reporter Lana Winters (Sarah Paulson), the noble-minded Dr. Oliver Thredson (Zachary Quinto) and the zealous Father Timothy Howard (Joseph Fiennes). Guest stars Frances Conroy, Chloe Sevigny and even Adam Levine add to the eerie and suspenseful season.
Around every corner of the asylum there are new mysteries and so-far unexplainable dangers lurking in the shadows. Some may be hesitant to join the bandwagon for this second season without having seen the first; however, “American Horror Story: Asylum” has a completely separate storyline from that of season 1. While there are some of the same actors, such as Lange, Evans and Quinto, the characters are new inventions altogether and the plot and setting could not be more different. Season 1 took place in the present day and followed the Harmon family as they moved into a restored mansion, unaware of its horrific history. Plagued by infidelity, ghosts and men in mysterious black body suits, the Harmons ultimately die, only to be trapped in the house forever, there to haunt the mansion and scare away its new residents. Season 2 takes us to a whole new level of crazy. Just two episodes in, the audience has already been introduced to aliens, exorcisms and a mystical man dubbed “Bloody Face.”
“American Horror Story” is not only sufficient in supplying the gore and the outrageously creepy; it also explores the social and intellectual taboos of 1964, some of which remain controversial even today. Such themes include science versus spirituality, racial discrimination and homosexuality. This show fearlessly holds a mirror up to the face of society (even if it is based in the ’60s) and consequentially shoves fear right back in our faces. It fantastically weaves in all of these historically moral and intellectual debates with unending psychological thrills. Are all of the asylum residents crazy? What are these creatures the doctor speaks of? And what is with that crazy nun? Only time will tell. “American Horror Story: Asylum” airs at 10 p.m. Wednesdays on FX. Join … OR DIE (just kidding).